SparkLabs Cultiv8, an Australian agri-food technology accelerator, is funding a new batch of 10 start-ups in the cleantech sector as part of its efforts to address climate change through innovation.
The latest batch brings the number of companies supported by the accelerator to 50. More than A$500 million (US$326 million) has been raised by the companies, which boast a combined value of more than A$1.6 billion and have created over 750 new jobs.
The accelerator is powered by Cultiv8 Funds Management, an agri-food venture capital fund founded by Malcolm Nutt and Jonathon Quigley in partnership with Challenger Group.
“Agriculture is essential to any conversation around climate change, and we are excited to contribute through innovation and collaboration with the leading research houses in Australia,” Nutt says.
In the past 10 years, local investments in agri-food tech have risen from US$3 billion to over US$50 billion.
“Our globally recognized programme is an opportunity to highlight the innovation occurring within [New South Wales] and broader Australia, and provides industry expertise to support the companies on their commercialization journey,” Quigley says. “This year’s participants zero in on areas such as biodiversity, resource efficiency, and renewable energy, and we are excited to partner with these businesses that will contribute to a more sustainable planet.”
Among the start-ups are Carbonaught, which delivers organic fertilizer derived from enhanced rock weathering to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and promote sustainable agriculture, and Clean Eyre Global, a land-based Asparagopsis seaweed production business committed to accelerating the commercialization of ruminant animal feed supplements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Also joining the accelerator programme are ExoFlare, which has developed a platform for the food and agricultural industries to evaluate and manage biosecurity hazards in real-time, and NanoSoils, which uses silica nanoparticles to directly administer agrochemicals to plants, reducing pesticide residues in the environment. The other companies are AusBioEnergy, Blue Carbon S2C, DownForce Technology, Packamama, Ten Carbon Chemistry, and Wollemi.
Over the next six months, the 10 start-ups will be based at The Gate, Orange Agricultural Institute, Orange, NSW, where SparkLabs Cultiv8 launched in 2017.
The accelerator is supported by the Department of Primary Industries, Meat and Livestock Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Agriculture Innovation Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Hort Innovation, and Science and Technology Australia.